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Is Sloppy Style Hurting the Results from Resort Print Ads?

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I have to admit, I had never even considered this idea before Jason Petznick from Blue Mountain brought it up. The idea is this: snowboarders are very, very particular about style and they can easily spot sloppy tricks that are used in print ads. If nothing else, let this serve as a reminder for the next print ad, poster, or photo you toss up on your social sites. Here’s the pre-test. Which of these photos below is of a poorly executed trick?

Both of these photos appeared in magazines recently. The answers will be at the end.

Gregg: In one paragraph tells us who you are, what you do, and your past/current involvement in snowsports?
Jason: It doesn’t feel like it, but I’ve been snowboarding for 15 years now. I’ve never been able to get enough of snowboard magazines and videos, so when I had the chance to intern and contribute to Snowboard Canada, SBC Business and the SBC Resort Guide, it was a dream come true. Add in a few seasons working at ski/snowboard shops, a couple winters working at resorts in British Columbia, and it brings me to my current position working in resort marketing.

Gregg: With your background and love of print, what issues are you seeing with the way snowboarding is being used in print ads?
Jason: Whether it’s skiing or snowboarding, the biggest thing that stands out to me anytime I see an action photo in a magazine is the rider’s style. I look for how solid their grab is, how locked in to the rail they are and how comfortable they look in the trick. When resorts use photos where someone is falling off a rail, or where their arms are clearly flailing in the air, it only works against them in the long run. If you’re paying for advertising space in a core magazine (Transworld, Snowboard Canada, SBC Skier, etc) and you end up using an image of a sloppy trick, you’re just ruining your image and credibility within that market segment.

Gregg: Many marketers are going to say “is a rider missing a grab really going to make my ad less effective?” What would your response be?
Jason: Absolutely less effective. From experience, I know that a lot of the people who purchase those magazines pick them up just to look at the photos. If you’re using a photo where the subject looks like they’re going to bail, it’s going to draw attention, but only for the wrong reasons.

Gregg: Missing grabs, bailing on a rail: any other style faux pas to watch out for?
Jason: It’s the whole package. You wouldn’t use a photo of someone on 220 cm straight skis anymore, so why would you use a shot of someone whose gear isn’t relatively current? Whether you use a third-party design agency or put the ads together in house, there are enough magazines, websites and resources out there that you should be able to get a grasp of what looks proper. As resort marketers, we’re selling a dream. You want to put out advertising material where the viewer can picture themselves as the person in the ad, and feel good about themselves.

Gregg: Aside from the photo, what else do you think makes an effective print ad?
Jason: Aside from the photo, you’re looking at key messaging and targeting the ad towards the publication or location it’s destined for. Whether
it’s a 1/4 page ad in the back of a magazine, or a full size billboard next to a busy highway, you really need to stop and think about what message will resonate with the audience that will be viewing it.

The answer is: the picture on the right. The rider isn’t centered on the rail and is a split second away from coming off the rail early. How’d you do?

About Gregg & SlopeFillers
I've had more first-time visitors lately, so adding a quick "about" section. I started SlopeFillers in 2010 with the simple goal of sharing great resort marketing strategies. Today I run marketing for resort ecommerce and CRM provider Inntopia, my home mountain is the lovely Nordic Valley, and my favorite marketing campaign remains the Ski Utah TV show that sold me on skiing as a kid in the 90s.

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